“The History of Bees” by Maja Lunde

“The history of bees” by Maja Lunde is probably the best and most beautiful book I got to read this year. For a long time I haven’t come across such a beautiful writing style and although the story takes place in three different times and tells three different lives, each one of them is absolutely stirring and takes you into three completely different centuries and places.

The Story

Tao lives in Sichuan in the year 2098 and earns his living by manually pollinating the trees. 90 years ago, bees had disappeared worldwide and feeding the world became the job of pollinators. On one of her rare free afternoons, her son gets injured and is afterwards hidden by the government for no apparent reason. Tao embarks on a hopeless search for her son through a starving China and could rewrite the history of bees.

At the same time, the story is told of William. He is a biologist and lives in England in 1852 and tries to revolutionize beekeeping. With his groundbreaking idea of a new type of beehive it should be possible to study and control bees even better. However, thanks to the lack of communication tools, someone might have already be ahead of him.

Meanwhile, in 2007, George lives in Ohio and continues his family’s generations of beekeeping. Recently the news has been talking about the “sudden death of bees”…

Style of Writing

Maja Lunde uses a beautiful writing style, which leaves no questions unanswered and gives the imagination room to move, but still gives a hold. Through her pictorial and detailed language she gives the scenery so much colour as if you were right in the middle of it. Maja Lunde paints us a picture of the future, which we probably never want to experience in this way and yet it seems to be within reach.

Despite the parallel development of three lives, the plot is very understandable and quickly recognizable through changing writing styles. Only towards the end it becomes apparent to the reader how the three lives of the main characters are connected, but the way to get there remains captivating through regular jumps in time. I was tempted to buy the book by its good reputation and I can tell you: I was not disappointed! On the contrary, I was surprised how excitingly Maja Lunde tells the story of the bees and I can hardly wait to get my hands on her new book “The End of the Ocean”.


An absolute recommendation from me, a wonderful novel for both young and old, which makes you dream and digress just by the writing style (maybe not by the plot). If you are looking for the excitement of a thriller and the beauty of a novel, you will find it here. At the same time Maja Lunde also conveys an important message that invites everyone regardless of their generation to dialogue and points to current climatic developments. Can we perhaps still stop the events or will we soon have to pollinate our trees by hand? 5 out 5 stars from me, let me know what you think! You can get a copy on amazon for 8,99 € or on medimops starting from 4,90 €.

Cheers, Tabea

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